How Do Braces Work

Braces Do Wonders for Your Teeth

Your smile is one of the very first things about you that other people notice. It can go a long way in creating a good first impression. However, not everyone has the benefit of having perfect teeth. Often, many people’s teeth grow in crooked, or they sometimes have a misaligned bite, such as an under- or overbite. Having dental issues like crooked teeth or a misaligned bite can have quite an impact on the health of your mouth and your self-esteem, as well. Fortunately for those with teeth issues, there are multiple ways to correct the alignment of your teeth and bite. One of the oldest and most well-known treatments of correcting teeth is braces.

Dental braces are devices that dentists and orthodontists use to correct a malocclusion. While children are the ones who most frequently get braces, more and more adults are using braces to correct their dental issues later in life. Over 4 million people in the United States wear braces. Of that number, roughly 25% of them are adults.

Braces have helped millions of people across the country solve their dental issues. However, many people often question how they work and fear that they will cause them pain and discomfort. Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas is here today to provide you with some information to better understand how braces work.

What are Braces?

There are different kinds of braces, such as Invisalign braces. However, we are going to be discussing traditional braces today. Their purpose is to correct crooked or misaligned teeth and bites. Many general dentists can do basic alignments, but orthodontists are typically the ones who specialize in correcting issues with teeth. These braces often consist of:

  • Brackets: metal squares that are glued to your teeth individually by your orthodontist using a special bonding agent
  • Orthodontic Bands: made from stainless steel, clear, or tooth-colored materials that are bonded to your teeth with a dental bonding agent, wrapping around each tooth to provide an anchor for brackets
  • Spacers: a small separator that is used to create a tiny space between teeth before bands are placed
  • Archwires: wires that are attached to the brackets and connect them, directing the movement of the teeth
  • Ligatures: small rubber bands that hold the archwires to the brackets
  • Buccal Tubes: a metal piece found on the back molar that anchors the other parts of your braces together at the back of your mouth
  • Springs: often placed on archwires to push, pull, open, or close space between teeth

To determine if you need braces, your dentist will review your medical history, take impressions of your teeth, photograph your face and teeth, and x-ray your mouth and head to get a clearer view of the shape of your teeth and jaw. All of this allows them to construct the right fit for your mouth.

How They Work

As we’ve mentioned several times already, an orthodontist will use braces to correct crooked teeth or a misaligned bite. Braces fix your teeth by applying constant pressure over an extended period, slowly moving the teeth in a specific direction until the desired outcome is reached. As pressure is applied, the shape of your jaw and teeth is changed, as your teeth move.

Your dentist will take a mold of your teeth before applying any pieces to them. This mold allows them to appropriately plan what your teeth need to correct them, as well as for deciding where exactly to place brackets. Once the brackets have been placed, your orthodontist will then apply the wire.

The archwires are what guide the movement of your teeth. It’s important to remember that not all wires will be perfectly even. Some will have more bend than others since some teeth may require more or less pressure. Springs can be attached to these wires to help pull, push, open, or close gaps between your teeth. Elastic bands are often added to brackets to apply additional pressure to help move your teeth in the correct direction.

Your teeth are not directly connected to your jaw. Underneath your gums is a part called the periodontal membrane, also known as the periodontal ligament, which surrounds the root of the tooth. This membrane, along with the bone attached to it, responds to the pressure applied to your teeth and decide just how your teeth move. Light, constant pressure works best on the membrane, as it allows your teeth to develop or break down bone cells appropriately.

How Braces Help

The most obvious reason people get braces is to correct their teeth. After all, that’s what they were designed to do. However, there are a host of benefits that braces help correct, including:

  • Overcrowding: Teeth that are too close together are much harder to brush and floss, which puts them at a higher risk of gum disease and tooth decay
  • Correct Bites: If you have a misaligned bite, you may struggle to bite or chew food correctly or thoroughly, which can lead to your teeth wearing out faster. Your jaw muscles will also tire out much quicker and can even cause jaw pain
  • Fix “Buckteeth”: A “bucktooth” appearance occurs when the large front teeth protrude out from under the lip. This makes individuals more likely to suffer a tooth injury.
  • Improve Your Appearance: While we understand that looks aren’t everything, we have to acknowledge just how we view our teeth. Over half of Americans are insecure about their smiles. Due to this, they hide their teeth when they talk, which can impact how they speak. When your teeth are fixed, you feel confident in your smile, which helps boost self-esteem and prevent any speech problems.

Braces are complicated applications that only highly trained professionals can apply. This treatment is designed to correct any crooked or misaligned teeth or bites. Braces apply continuous pressure to move your teeth into the desired positions. If you are interested in braces and how they can help you, give Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas a call today.

Tips to Living with Braces

Braces Affect Many Things in You Life, Such as Eating

Growing up, many children learn to hate the dentist. There is a stigma against them, with many having misconceptions and thinking a dentist visit is painful. One of the causes for this may be braces. Children go to visit their dentist only to find out their teeth need correction. Wearing braces have become a rite of passage for many adolescents. They aren’t the only ones, though! Nearly 1.4 million adults are currently wearing them. They don’t discriminate.

Many see having to wear braces as an inherently bad thing. While it may not be the most comfortable nor the most fashionable, they are for your well-being. Braces help protect you from health problems, including gum disease. After you finally have them removed, your health will be intact, and your smile will be transformed.

What are Braces?

The intent of braces is to correct crooked teeth or a misaligned bite, meaning an underbite or overbite. While many general dentists can do basic alignments, orthodontists’ specialty is in correcting any issues in your teeth. They can do this in many ways, including retainers, braces, clear braces, and more.

They are composed of bands, wires, and other applications that are secured to the teeth. To determine if you need them or not, your dentist will check your medical history, take impressions of your teeth, photograph your face and teeth, and X-ray your mouth and head. This way, they can construct the right fit for you.

When applied, braces apply constant pressure over time, slowly moving your teeth into a corrected position.

Helpful Tips

Living with braces can be difficult for many teenagers. Not only does it affect how they eat and clean their mouth, but it can even lead to bullying from their peers. Even though they may know that they will give them many benefits for their long-term health, they still may not be happy about it. That’s why we are here to help your teen get through living with their braces.

Watch What You Eat: 

Unfortunately for many, your braces affect the foods you eat. There are many types of food that you should steer clear of, so you don’t damage your braces. Some of the foods you should avoid are:

  • Hard fruits and veggies, including apples, pears, carrots, and more.
  • Chewy foods, such as soft bread, taffy, and licorice.
  • Crunchy foods, including chips, popcorn, and ice.
  • Sticky foods like candy, chewing gum, and caramel candies.
  • Hard nuts.

Avoiding these foods can ensure that your braces remain in good shape and don’t extend the time you have to wear them. There are many foods you can eat, including:

  • Cooked vegetables.
  • Soft fruits, including bananas and strawberries
  • Lean, tender meat.
  • Soft bread, including tortillas and pancakes.
  • Pasta and soft-cooked rice.

Wear a Mouthguard: 

For any child who plays a contact sport, they should always be wearing a mouthguard. Without a mouthguard, you are more likely to suffer a sports-related tooth injury. This is especially the case for those with braces.

Just because you are wearing braces does not mean you have to be away from the action. However, it does mean you need to take extra precaution. Your braces will more than likely make your mouth more sensitive and tender than normal. Any contact with it may cause discomfort. A mouthguard also protects your appliances from sustaining damage from a flying ball or a swinging elbow.

If they become damaged, you have to go back to the dentist to fix them, which could extend the time needed wearing them. Always wear a mouthguard.

Add Personality to Your Braces: 

Braces have come a long way since their inception. You are no longer stuck with just traditional metal looking teeth. Children can make their braces whatever color they wish now! With the help of colored bands, kids can now add their own flair and personality. They can make them all one color, make the bottom a different color than the top, or create an alternating pattern. The options are virtually limitless.

Some children are forced into wearing them. This makes them feel as though they don’t have much of an option with their situation. Allowing them to change the colors of their bands in their braces gives them a sense of control in a situation they normally didn’t.

Always Use Proper Dental Care:

Your daily dental routine should not vary compared to before you had braces. You should still brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. They can make this more difficult, unfortunately.

To begin, you should always swish water in your mouth to dislodge any food stuck in your teeth and braces. You need to still use a regular soft toothbrush on all of your teeth. You can even use a proxabrush to get in the small gaps between two braces. Flossing can be more difficult. You can knock out some of the brackets and wires if you are not careful. Gently thread floss between wires. To finish off, utilize some disinfecting mouthwash to clear any debris.

Properly Utilize Your Retainer:

Many people underestimate how important a retainer is to the success of your braces. You should always wear your retainer until your orthodontist says otherwise. Your teeth can return to their original positions fairly quick without your retainer in place.

You should always remove your retainer when you are eating, putting them in their case for safekeeping. Your retainer should be cleaned at least once a day with a toothbrush. At least once a week, disinfect your retainer with a denture cleaner, such as Efferdent. Retainers can be easily broken and can start to add up when they need to be replaced, so make sure you are taking the best care of it.

Getting braces can be a difficult time for many teenagers. Most of them don’t like the way they look or feel. Some even become victims of bullying. Regardless of the long-term benefits braces provide, no one looks forward to them, even the select adults who opt for them. However, there are plenty of things people with braces can do to make the time with the mouth gear much easier. If you believe you or your child may need braces, contact Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas.

3 Signs It’s Time to Get Braces

Braces are one of the most common treatments performed at dental clinics across the country, and for good reason. Even though that is the case, it is not always clear whether or not you or your child is in need of braces. One of the tell-tale signs that a child, teenager, or adult needs braces is if they have crooked teeth. However, that is not the only reason your local dentist may suggest braces. Today we are going to go over the top three signs that it’s time to get braces.

When orthodontic problems or oral health issues are ignored, they can turn into something far more serious. This is why it is so important that you are able to identify potential symptoms of common orthodontic problems. This is especially true for children and young adults, as they have the opportunity to correct any major oral health problems before it’s too late. Our team at Cosmetic & Family of Las Colinas is committed to improving your oral health and doing everything we can to help you keep your mouth as healthy as possible. While many people shy away from braces for vanity reasons, dental technology has come a long way over the years and the options for braces are now far less intrusive. Our Invisalign clear braces are one of the most effective cosmetic dentistry services we offer and are a great option for teens and older adults with a less-than-ideal smile. With that in mind, let’s look at the top three signs that you may need braces:

  1. Your bite is uncomfortable or out of line. If your bite feels ‘funny’, or if your teeth do not line up with one another when you bite down, you may be the perfect candidate for braces. It is not uncommon for adults to have bite issues, in fact, 70 percent of the population has a malocclusion problem (incorrect bite). While many people ignore this problem, it can lead to irregular wear of the teeth, jaw problems, and chronic headaches. Furthermore, a misaligned bite can result in injury to your teeth, as they are more likely to collide with one another when chewing and speaking. Braces are a wonderful option for those with an uncomfortable or misaligned bite, as they can improve the function and appearance of the smile.
  1. You have overcrowded teeth. When an individual’s teeth are overcrowded, it is not simply a cosmetic problem, but can also pose serious health threats. There are numerous reasons for this, including a heightened risk of tooth decay, gingivitis, periodontal disease, and bad breath. Invisalign braces are a great option for those with overcrowded, crooked teeth, as they will help straighten out the teeth and correct any crowding problems.
  1. You have gaps in between your teeth. While many people viewing gaps in the teeth as endearing, this can be a sign of a more serious problem. In many cases, gaps in between teeth suggest the upper and lower jaw are not fitting together as they should. There are numerous causes of this, such as genetics, thumb-sucking, mouth tissue formation, and other conditions. Braces can help close these gaps, which will not only improve the aesthetics of your smile, but fix certain oral health problems.

If you are experiencing any of the above problems or would like to discuss Invisalign braces with one of our knowledgeable Dallas dental technicians, please contact Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas today. We are happy to provide you with insight regarding the health of your teeth and will help you determine if braces are right for your specific case.